Kyle and Jackie O:

Katherine Stuart writes: Re. Friday’s editorial. While media audiences are indeed “fragmenting and migrating in hundreds of different directions” because technology makes that possible, I take umbrage at the idea that “Tackiness, sensationalism and bad taste are increasingly the only resorts available to cling on to those migrating audiences.”

Is the belief here that the vast majority of Australians (the presumed mass audience) is attracted principally by tackiness, sensationalism and bad taste? I rather think the reverse is true — that they are leaving in droves because of that chosen road. Making your audience feel tacky by serving them up a near-pure diet of tackiness, sensationalism and bad taste ultimately leaves them with a bad taste in their mouth. The vast majority of people, even those who enjoy a bit of gossip, like to think well of themselves — or is the last century or so of research into human behaviour and psychology all rubbish?

There may or may not still be a mass audience out there for a mass media, but as a community we still have a whole heap of shared values — otherwise society simply wouldn’t function. The real problem for the mass media today is surely relevance and some obsolete beliefs about human behaviour, culture and society. The media is as much cultural product as it is commercial enterprise, but its own subculture appears to be way out of step with its larger cultural context.

Where journalists once were warriors in pursuit of truth or at least hard information in the service of the community, there are many more, and often better informed, sources of such at the community’s disposal today — largely due to advances in technology in some form or another. Even the principal business model of commercial media (content attracting audience attracting advertisers) may need a rethink.

Mass media needs some truly creative thinking to find a new vision and reinvent itself if it is going to survive. We, the mass audience, can simply ignore it at its peril.

David Lenihan writes: Sir, your leader tells us what we already know: you must consider your readers ignoramus. It also tells us to get used to stunts such as that inflicted on the 14 year old. Well sod you mate, if that’s your attitude. There are stunts and there are stunts. The great majority may be stupid, childish, inane, non sensical but do not break the law. Obviously in your tawdry way it is OK to have a child be made to confess to being raped on air live and be further humiliated by a self opinionated big head, full of his own importance.

Well I find your comments beneath contempt, you have over stepped the mark this time and should be ashamed to publish such an off handed, she’ll be right mate, get used to it piece. You in your dismissive way suggest tackiness, sensationalism and bad taste are all part of the media game. While this disgusting performance by TodayFM includes all three you fail to mention degradation, child abuse and public humiliation. Get round those three if you can.

It is not that this type of rubbish exists; it’s to the extent it goes. That is what the outcry is all about, this time it went below gutter level.

Jeff Ash writes: One thing I would never have dreamed Kyle and Jackie O would be accused of is holding up a mirror to multicultural society. If mindless, cruel “entertainment” is what we need then bring on The Running Man, I’ve been looking forward to society degrading to that point for quite some time. It will ease crowding in jails too.

Jim Hart writes: Re. “Leave Kyle and Jackie alone!” (Friday, item 5). Please reassure me that Ben Pobjie is trying to be satirical, that he’s simultaneously taking the piss, having me on and pulling my leg. That’s fine Ben, but frankly mate it’s just a bit too soon.

I’m still in too much shock to laugh with you when you use phrases like “trenchant, witty, socially relevant entertainment” and “creative visions based on originality and innovation” to describe sub-human life forms like Vyle and Tackie-O.

Denise Marcos writes: My suspicion is that Ben Pobjie is a fifteen-year-old work experience recruit at Crikey. Please confirm that his term is brief and that shortly subscribers will no longer be subjected to his abysmally crafted dreck.

Politics gone to the dogs:

Martin Copelin writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s political bite-sized meaty chunks” (Friday, item 13). His article on turning to women to lead by the ALP state governments is pure nonsense.

The first one Joan Kirner who succeeded John Cain in Victoria was also leader of the Socialist left faction which completely undermined Cain. Needless to say Victorians turfed her out at the first opportunity, recognising that she was also an extreme feminist as well.

Carmen Lawrence took over from the impressive Peter Dowding who had not long before won an election against all the odds, despite the mess Brian Burke had left behind. I understand Burke was disappointed in Dowding and used his still considerable influence to undermine him with caucus members. Burke stated that putting a female into the top job would be worth 2 to 3% at the next election. Perhaps he was partly right but they were still thrashed. Later Lawrence was very close to going to jail, her “bad memory” became a sick joke.

Now for Anna Bligh. She was a clone of Peter Beattie who makes no secret of the fact he prefers women around him as they are less confrontational and who knows, Peter probably thought all women loved him. There has to be someone better than Anna, she has no idea in running a big enterprise such as Queensland and appears to be surrounded by drongos, with Paul Lucas the exception. The LNP will probably win the next state election in a landslide by default.

I agree with him in his statement on South Koreans eating dogs. These people have no need to do that unlike their North Korean cousins who have to eat anything as they are starving. Perhaps it might be better for the Stalinist south to take over their big southern neighbour and probably start eating them.

Learn your lesson:

Angus Sharpe writes: Re. “Lowbottom Diaries: underpaid, underappreciated and under the weather” (Friday, item 16). You know that feeling you get when you drive through suburban streets, about three blocks in, in outer Melbourne. All you can see is identical identikit houses and tiny parks with swings that no-one use. And you think, F**k, I am in. I am part of. The rest of my life will be filled with Escheresque suburban horror.

For the love of God Trevor. You are teaching a generation of children, and for that, I honour you. But DO something else with your life. You can write. Write a book. Shake it up. Even a little. Your writing is giving me the cold shudders. And the kiddies must feel it. It must flow into what you do, is what I’m saying. Oh — and for the above reasons — nice one. Keep ’em coming Trevor.

Procol Harum:

Andrew Dempster writes: Re. “Rundle: IP, a whiter shade of property” (Friday, item 12). Guy Rundle wrote that “Malcolm Fisher is skipping the light fandango today” though he “now works as a computer programmer — the dismal fate of failed musos, retraining at some college above a hairdresser in Barnsley”.

A short trip to this obscure website might have informed Guy that *Matthew* Fisher obtained an honours degree in Computer Science from Cambridge University.

I can vouch for it because on graduation day he held the Vice Chancellors hands immediately before my girlfriend of the time so I can even show you a photograph.

The rumours that he arrived for his first day at Wolfson College in a pink Rolls can not be so reliably confirmed, however.

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